Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government's top infectious diseases expert, emphasized the dangers of COVID-19 on Tuesday, contradicting President Donald Trump's false claim that the coronavirus was only as deadly as the flu.
People infected with COVID-19 do display "flu-like" symptoms, Fauci said Tuesday in an interview with NBC News' Kate Snow. But the damage the coronavirus can do "is very much different from influenza."
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"You don't get a pandemic that kills a million people and it isn't even over yet within influenza," said Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "So it is not correct to say it's the same as flu. It has some overlapping symptomatology early on. But flu doesn't do the things to you that COVID-19 can."
Trump, still infected, was released Monday from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after three days of treatment. He returned to the White House, where he resumed downplaying the dangers of the virus, which has already killed more than 210,000 people in the United States, according to the latest NBC News figures.